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Qatari developers challenge Carillion boss' evidence

carillion 1

Qatari developers have challenged the evidence a former Carillion boss gave to MPs that said a project in the Middle East contributed to the collapse of the construction giant.

Former chief executive Richard Howson told a parliamentary committee investigating the firm’s collapse in January that he “felt like a bailiff” when he tried to collect £200M for work on the Msheireb Downtown Doha redevelopment.

The Qatari client Msheireb Properties said it “disputes the claims made by Carillion executives during the House of Commons select committee”, the Guardian reported.

On Tuesday, Howson told MPs on the work and pensions committee and the business, energy and industrial strategy committee that he had made almost monthly trips to Qatar for years to try and recoup the money. “Working in the Middle East is very different from working anywhere else in the world”, he said.

A spokesman for Msheireb Properties said that it had continued to pay Carillion but claimed that the company did not pass the funds on to its supply chain.

Carillion was toppled by a combination of too much debt, which stood at £1.5bn when it went into liquidation, and problems with the Qatar development, the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the Midlands Met Hospital and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route contracts, former chairman Philip Green told the board.

Co-chairs of the inquiry into Carillion’s collapse Frank Field MP and Rachel Reeves MP slammed the former directors as “delusional characters” who “built a giant company on sand in a desperate dash for cash.”

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